Recently, my dear friend met with a bout of baby blues and we texted long distance trying to bouy her spirits. The overlap of her experience with mine was no mistake. No, I've never suffered post partum blues. But as my daughter's 18th birthday loomed on the horizon, I've been busy preparing for the launching of child number one. I've been proudly cruising along like an organizational cyclone. I created a folder for her senior year, complete with a calender page for each month from last summer until she leaves for college. All the deadlines and checklists were in place, carefully being checked off one by one.
--open house invitations
--cap & gown paid for
--tent, table, chairs rented
--photo albums for display
--college applications, acceptance letters and matriculation fees sent
--one last college visit
--call financial planner for meeting about financial aid
--food for open house
You get the idea.
I was sailing along, not only proud that I'd felt rather emotionally put together over this launching and letting go, but wondering why emptying the nest is considered so hard to do. Why, I'd even survived her spring concert and the senior night song as they were all announced and held hands to sing their senior song. I smiled full of joy and pride, as my daughter's face crumpled into a tearful sentimental remembrance that nearly kept her from singing. And still, not a tear from me. I was rather enjoying it, and proud of my daughter's progress, all the while thinking one only needs to be organized to make this whole shebang turn out successfully.
Enter hormones (peri-menopausal slash PMS--oh yeah)--and my daughter's prom. I turned into a blithering idiot needing to buy stock in Puffs or Kleenex, while texting my baby blue friend hoping for some sympathy. My beautiful girl had moments of doubt. Strong, confident, clear-minded and determined to celebrate, she ventured onward--but not before needing to bolster her slightly faltering strength with a pep talk from mom.
Had we done ok? Would she really be alright?
My heart trembled as I asked her to forgive my mistakes and failings as I explained that her father and I, and Jesus, love her unconditionally no matter what, but the world out there that she's about to embark on--it doesn't love her, and it judges harshly and with conditions. And though we and her Savior have never demanded perfection, this world will require that she learn how to compete to achieve her dreams and aspirations. Prom had suddenly embodied everything to me about this world. Of course she knows she's the daughter of the King, and of this one thing I'm confident that it will bolster her through life's failures. But not without pain. Pain that I can't shield her from, whether in the nest or out.
But in reality we probably weren't, and that's ok--because really no one ever is.
Then I remembered the faces of the other seniors during that senior night song. A few were teary-eyed along with my daughter. But honestly, most of them looked nearly stricken with fear and uncertainty, shocked by the sudden changes they are about to plunge into.
Eighteen years ago, I was two weeks overdue. I had a check list then too and it had been checkoff more than twice by the time I was that overdue! My daughter finally arrived after a difficult labor and 2 1/2 hrs of pushing, with much labor and travail. And so it repeats the process once more on this end of the journey of life.
Hormones. Moans. Changes. All part of being a mother.
Perhaps God knew we'd need to be stripped of all certainty that we have the world by the tail. Perhaps He knew we should be asking Him if we'd be okay, if we'll be alright. Perhaps He needs us to recognize that only as sons and daughters of the King, will be able to change--and be alright.